The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office announced that deputies have arrested a suspect they believe intentionally set fire to the culvert near the 5700-block of Via Real in Carpinteria. On Monday, Feb. 21, at approximately 4:47 p.m., deputies were dispatched to investigate a subject digging into the hillside near a drainage culvert in Carpinteria Creek, which was believed to be the origin point of the underground fire which closed Highway 101 and Via Real on the evening and night of Saturday, Feb. 19.
Deputies contacted the suspect, 24-year-old Santiago Garcia-Soriano of Carpinteria. Garcia-Soriano spoke with deputies and a fire investigator from the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District, and admitted he started a fire in the culvert on Saturday, Feb. 19, about one hour before the fire was reported. Garcia-Soriano was arrested for arson to property (felony) and possession of cocaine (misdemeanor). Garcia-Soriano was booked at the Santa Barbara County Main Jail and is being held on an increased bail of $250,000.